Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Morelia
Morelia, the magnificent capital of the state of Michoacán, lies on the right bank of the Rio Grande de Morelia within an extensive fertile hollow between Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico's two largest cities.
Morelia retains the character of a distinguished Spanish colonial town.
During the pre-Columbian period the Morelia region was settled by a tribe of Matlatzinca who had retreated before the Aztec advance into this Tarascan-ruled (Purépecha) region in the mid 15th c.
Soon after the Conquista the first Spaniards, led by Cristóbel de Olid, came to the area and conquered the Tarascans. In the Spanish chronicle of the settlement the first entry concerns the establishment of a convent by the Franciscan friar Father Juan de San Miguel in 1537. Founded in 1541, Morelia was first named Valladolid on the orders of the first viceroy of New Spain Antonio de Mendoza. By 1547 Valladolid had gained its municipal charter. In competition with "Indian" Pátzcuaro, where Bishop Vasco de Quiroga had his seat of office, "Spanish" Valladolid finally became the see of a bishop in 1570, and in 1582 it became Michoacán's capital in place of Pátcuaro. During the 17th and 18th c. Morelia developed into a trading centre for the agriculture of the surrounding area. In the Mexican War of Independence (1810-21) the town was for a time the operational base of the freedom fighter Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. In 1828, after independence had been won, it was named Morelia in honour of another of the freedom fighters Father José Maria Morelos y Pavón (1765-1815), who was a native of the town. Inheriting the cultural traditions of Spain, Morelia eventually became one of Mexico's leading intellectual centres thanks largely to its university.
How to get there
From Mexico City by air about 45 minutes; by rail approximately 10 hours; by bus about 6.5 hours; by car 309km/192mi along the MEX 15 via Toluca.
Colegio de San Nicolás
Church of Santa Rosa de Lima
Museum of Colonial Art
House of Culture
Church of St Francis
Palacio de las Artesanías
Plaza de los Mártires (Zócalo)
Palacio de Justicia
Lago de Pátzcuaro (Pátzcuaro Lake) has a length of 19km/12mi, an average width of almost 5km/3mi and lies at a height of 2050 m (6725 ft).
The lake is surrounded by forested mountains and extinct volcanoes and contains a string of islands, of which Janitzio, Jarácuaro, Tecuén, Yunuén and Pacanda are the most important. Numerous picturesque Indio villages, which have managed to retain to a great extent their old way of life, are situated along the banks and in the surrounding area. Its location and surroundings make Lago de Pátzcuaro one of Mexico's most popular tourist attractions which can sometimes lead to overcrowding. Pollution, however, has also affected the lake detrimentally during recent years.
How to get there
From Mexico City by rail along a beautiful country route in approximately 12 hours; by bus and by car on the MEX 15 about 350km/217mi via Morelia.